On July 12, the House of Representatives passed the Khanna/Gaetz Amendment (H.Amdt. 554 to HR 2500) to prevent unconstitutional war with Iran as well as Rep. Barbara Lee’s amendment (H. Amdt. 555 to HR 2500) to repeal the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force. Both carry timely protections for our country, our Constitution and, especially, for our troops.

Regarding the first, the restrictions this reasonable amendment places on the president are modest in scope. It simply prevents war being waged against Iran unless the U.S. or its armed forces have been directly attacked by Iran, or Congress has first debated and voted to authorize such a war.

Barbara Lee’s amendment to repeal the 2002 AUMF against Iraq also has humble aspirations. This outdated and irrelevant authorization is not needed to continue any current conflicts. Keeping it on the books only serves as an invitation for presidents, current and future, to conjure new hostilities in places it was never meant to apply.

It is not hyperbole to suggest that time is of the essence in passing this legislation. The Trump administration recently refused to concede that the 2002 AUMF does not allow for war without congressional debate in places like Syria and elsewhere. What a relief that the House has voted to avert such an abuse of power.

Meeting with Congressman Riggleman several months ago, we were happy to hear him speak of the need to support a healthy system of checks and balances in our government and to rule according to the mandates already prescribed by our Constitution. We, who similarly agree, had assumed he would stand by this principle and vote in favor of these common-sense amendments.

We are disappointed that, instead, he opposed both.

Our hope is that the expanding bipartisan support for placing war decisions safely back in the hands of Congress, as demonstrated by the passage of these amendments, will encourage our congressman to re-examine his logic for turning down this opportunity.

Carol DiCaprio Herrick

Albemarle County

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Carol DiCaprio Herrick is a spokeswoman for the Charlottesville Advocacy Team, which is supported by the Friends Committee on National Legislation.

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